Thank You GC! Emily Dirks

Remember the post we did on GC student and Girl Scout, Emily Dirks, and her amazing Guatemalan service project? Emily is back on the blog to thank everyone who donated recorders and to fill you in on her successful trip. Please see her email and photos below.


I wanted to thank everyone who donated recorders. I can’t even begin to explain to you what a big hit there were. The children were so happy to get them, and we had a wonderful afternoon trying to teach them some songs. Believe me laughter transcends language. It’s amazing how such a small thing like a recorder can brighten the lives of these children. Each and everyone of them are so very precious.
The rest of the trip was also a huge success. The house that we built came out good and we all spent time with the locals on different social work visits, and we each had a day in the life of a different merchant. This trip was very humbling, and I hope one day to return to Guatemala on another service trip.

Thanks again,

Emily Dirks


Runner Saga Resolved! Part II

I did it! I finally moved ahead on my stair runner and pulled the trigger. For those of you who missed the first piece of this home decorating dilemma, you can read it here. After some help from Adam Jarrett, the creative force behind, I was able to choose a runner and upgrade my staircase and entryway in a big way. I think the pictures show the process pretty well:

IMG_2266Here’s what was on the stairs when we bought the house.

IMG_2263A few of the samples we checked out. They have every style imaginable.

Stripping and preparing the stairs. 

After months of hesitation on my own {and visiting many different carpet stores} about which carpet style to choose, with some professional guidance, I found something that I loved right away. Adam thought the runner should tie in the surrounding colors of the walls, the steps and the wooden banister, plus give the entryway a more modern look, while tying it in with the traditional feel of the house. I loved the idea and went ahead with a wool chevron pattern in classic colors so as not to look too trendy. Here’s the finished product:


We went with a wide chocolate binding to draw in the color of the dark brown couch in the adjoining room and also to bring out the brown in the runner. I have to say, it looks fabulous and {I’m confident} much better than if I went with a random carpet store. As it turned out, the walls weren’t even at the top of the staircase and that caused a small problem during installation. Adam gave me a few ways we could solve it and really worked with me {and the crooked walls} to make it look superb.

I’m extremely happy with my runner and so glad I decided to go with a more personal provider. I loved the one on one attention I received. A text always got a quick response and the runner was installed just a couple of days after I made my final choice. has a great website if you want to check out some of the other work they’ve done.

If you’re interested in new flooring, carpeting or a stair runner, check out and mention for a special discount! And remember- as always, InsideGardenCity hasn’t been paid any amount of money to showcase this company. I just wanted to share another great find in the never ending process of home decorating.


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Risotto in a Rush?

I used to spend a good part of my evening preparing big, healthy, gourmet meals. I really enjoyed cooking. It was my creative outlet and also part of my relaxation time. But I no longer have the time to devote to all of that preparation, so I’ve tailored my meals from labor intensive gourmet dishes to quick and easy gets-the-job done dishes. Which means there’s a lot of roasted chicken, meatloaf, etc on the menu as of late- one pan, pop it in the oven and you’re done.

Yesterday I came upon a lone box of risotto hiding all the way in the dark recesses of my pantry. No doubt, a leftover from my more ambitious cooking days. In an effort to try and thin out the pantry (a new mission of mine) and use up what’s been lying around in there for way too long, I decided to make a risotto. Even though it definitely goes against my new menu policy of fast and easy, I thought I could swing one labor intensive dish. I did a quick Google search for “easy risotto recipes” and hit pay dirt! I found this:

Ina Garten described how to make a risotto in the oven. That’s right… in the oven. Easy peasy, right? So I got out my dutch oven, added the risotto and chicken broth and baked it for 45 minutes. No stirring at all! If you’ve made risotto before, you know it’s a labor intensive dish which involves standing at the stove and stirring and stirring and stirring… You get the picture. This recipe eliminated all of that stirring! After 45 minutes, I  moved it to the stovetop, added wine, a little more broth, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and a cup of peas. Two more minutes of stirring on the stovetop and I was done. My risotto was complete and it was almost hands-free!


This recipe was a great find and this way of making risotto is genius for people who don’t have a lot of time for cooking. Admittedly, it’s not the same exact quality as the more traditional way of preparing risotto, but it’s more than good enough when you’re crunched for time. Try it and see. Enjoy!


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Grand Re-Opening @ Envie May 4th!

If you cruise Seventh Street often, you’ve realized that Envie has been under construction for the past few months. This boutique used to have a lot of style in a small space but now they have even more style in a more beautiful {and bigger} space. As usual, pieces are fairly priced and of course… gorgeous. They’re back to business as usual now and they’re celebrating with a grand opening event on Wednesday, May 4th from 5-8pm.


Now is the perfect time to shop for Mother’s Day. In honor of their completed renovations, Envie is ready to roll out the red carpet for their customers who were so patient during the construction process. Customers who come by from 5-8pm will enjoy:

15% off your entire purchase and a free gift with $100 purchase. Also, you can relax with a glass of wine, indulge in some cookies or finger sandwiches from their neighbor Bagel Man and enter Envie’s raffle.

Be sure not to miss out on the fun! Come and get your Mother’s Day shopping done {and maybe a little spring shopping for yourself while you’re there} at Envie’s Grand Re-opening Party. See you there!

The Holidays Are Long Gone III… presents an old favorite among our readers: Holiday decor around town that’s lingering well past its expiration date.

We went easy on you this year, Garden City. The time to run this feature is usually pre-Easter. But even with the extra time, we spotted a number of houses sporting Christmas holiday decor. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and even Easter have come and gone, yet holiday decorations are still visible around town. As we are now approaching Mother’s Day, it’s time to give these decorations a rest!

2016-04-05 12.03.56Doesn’t this wreath look great? Yes, but not in April. 

2016-03-31 14.10.09A tree wrapped in lights, as many are around town.

2016-03-31 14.09.50These columns are dressed in their holiday best.

2016-03-31 14.06.36Here’s another tell-tale wreath. 

We caught you! Time to take these decorations down and make way for Spring! And remember- this is all in good fun!

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Stair Runner: Frustration Nation

When you move, there’s always seems to be an endless to-do list. Since I moved to GC, one thing that I’ve desperately wanted to do is replace the stair runner in my new home. Take a look at the image below and you’ll see why:


The runner on the main staircase was from the previous owner {and from the looks of it, maybe even the previous, previous owner}. It was not my style at all and just looked tired. Plus, since it’s one of the first things someone notices when they enter my home, I wanted something a bit more modern and interesting.

I searched and searched and searched some more because that’s just how I do things {even though it frustrates everyone around me to no end}  for the right store, the right runner, the right color, the right price, etc, etc. You know how it goes. I brought home carpet samples, compared them to the walls, returned the samples, visited different stores, brought home more samples, consulted friends, family, decorators, etc, but I never found the right… everything… to make me pull the trigger. It was total frustration nation!

Cut to two years later and I still have the same old runner {a clear case of decision paralysis}. A friend suggested I check out I did and it was a game changer. Adam Jarrett, also the owner, came to my house for a no-charge consultation (no more store hopping and schlepping samples around- yay!) and I was pleasantly surprised. He was very professional and he obviously took a lot of pride in his work.

In addition to having a lot of great rug samples, Adam also had a good sense of design and style. He suggested coordinating colors/designs and explained different types of rugs to me but at the same time, he kept the process simple. He also brought amazing pictures of his work! The photos were essential for me since I can’t visualize well on my own- I like to see a hard copy of how things look. I knew I wanted something modern, perhaps a sisal. Here are some of the samples Adam showed me:




Adam’s specialty is custom stair runners although he does regular carpets as well. After a bit of deliberation and gentle guidance from Adam, I made my choice. Stay tuned for part II  {the finished product!} and how Adam saved me from decision paralysis.

As always, I haven’t been paid any amount of money to showcase I just wanted to share a great find in the daunting process of buying {and decorating} a home!

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GCHS Student & Girl Scout Asks for Assistance



In the words of Ronald Regan, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” is happy to help a GCHS junior and Girl Scout, Emily Dirks, as she pursues her very admirable goal of helping impoverished children and families. Read on and see if you might be able to help Emily in her cause. Her email address is included below. Thank you to our readers!


Dear members of the Garden City community,
My name is Emily Dirks. I’m a junior at the GCHS and an active Girl Scout.

This summer I will be traveling to Guatemala with Common Hope, a nonprofit organization partnering with impoverished children and families in Guatemala in the areas of education, health care, housing, and family development.

My group will be involved in a wide range of activities, including building a simple house for a family, accompanying a social worker on home visits, and leading school activities with young Guatemalan students. These activities are instrumental in helping the organization achieve its goals, and provide volunteers the opportunity to learn about another culture.

The students are working to raise funds and supplies for Common Hope before they travel this July. We are specifically looking for any unused school supplies and new or used recorders. The team will be leading a music lesson at a local elementary school and we are hoping to collect as many recorders as possible.

Recorders can be dropped off at 81 Cambridge Ave GC, (right off Edgemere Rd) or if you prefer you can email me at and I’ll will be glad to pick the recorder up from your house. We will clean all the recorders before they are brought to Guatemala.

Thanks for your support,

Emily Dirks

Banana Yum

Do you ever bake your own muffins or do you just grab-and-go from your local bagel store/coffee shop?

If you’re a grab-and-goer, you may want to rethink that plan with summer fast approaching. Since muffins can often come close to 400 and 500 calories {each!}, perhaps baking your own is worth the effort. Plus, you can control what goes into it. Take a look at what I baked this week:

IMG_3591Delicious, low-cal and healthy!

IMG_3592Chocolate-y goodness!

I came across a great recipe on Instagram from Colorfulfoodie. Check it out on Instagram if you’re interested. I’ve found other good recipes there as well. This is called a blender cake (but can be put into a muffin tin too as I did). If you’re not a baker, trust me, it’s sooo easy! You can even make it gluten free.


2 overripe bananas

1/4 cup Greek yogurt or apple sauce

1/4 cup honey or agave

1/4 cup coconut or brown cane sugar

1-2 eggs (or 2-3 egg whites)

1/4 cup almond milk (or any milk)

1 cup flour or a combo of next 3 ingredients

1/2 cup gluten free flour (or any flour)

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup almond meal

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

dash salt

handful dark chocolate chips for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Blend all ingredients (except chocolate chips) together until mixed well. Prepare muffin tin or cake pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until center is set.

Makes a great breakfast or mid-day snack without the guilt. Try it. You can do it!

Plancha Delights

If you want to do dinner right, head to Plancha Tapas and Wine Bar on Franklin Ave in Garden City. It had been too long since I was able to get back there so I more than made up for it on a recent visit.

Josh, the owner, will be more than happy to guide you in your food and wine choices. My dinner date and I actually sat down and just asked him to recommend away. And he did. We started with this:

IMG_3597 A lovely Spanish board. Yum…

Is your mouth watering yet? Josh fine-tuned the board a bit and switched a few items around from what was on the menu. Love this about Plancha- they really want you to enjoy the experience and tailor to your preferences.

If you like olives, the olives at Plancha are amazing. We. Loved. Them. We also splurged with the cebada {yum}, shishito peppers {delish but a lot of peppers for just two people}, scallops {excellent}. The eggplant puree with root vegetables and almonds under the scallops was so delicious- I think it deserves a plate of its very own! In short, the meal was fantastic.

Josh paired all of this with a Spanish red that went perfectly- didn’t overwhelm the food at all but complemented it just right. My only regret was not having a second stomach to enjoy some of the other items on the menu.

There’s nothing else like Plancha in GC. Have you been yet?

931 Franklin Ave., Garden City

Zucchini For Lent

I broke out an old family recipe for my Lenten Friday dinner tonight:


For some reason, I only make zucchini pie {which is much like a casserole} during Lent. I don’t know why this is, considering it’s delish, easy to make and not-so-bad for you. I give it an even health{ier} twist by cutting down the oil to 1/4 cup and using Greek yogurt for the other 1/4 cup. I also go easy on the cheese. Other than that, I follow the recipe as is:

3 cups diced zucchini

4 eggs

1 cup Bisquick or pancake mix

1/2 cup grated cheese

1/2 cup oil

Pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley to taste

Combine ingredients in medium size mixing bowl. Put into greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 mins or until golden brown.

Enjoy a slice or two of zucchini pie with a glass of red wine and a salad… yum! This never sticks around long enough in my house to enjoy leftovers. You can find variations of this recipe for zucchini pie on I know pizza is a go-to for most people on Fridays during Lent, but I sometimes need to shake it up a bit. Next week on the Friday menu: Fettucini Alfredo.